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New Computer Code Released for Enhanced Oil Recovery

February 2015
Retooled STOMP Code for Enhanced Oil Recovery Application
PNNL's STOMP code provides field-scale 3D simulations for a wide range of subsurface conditions, including oil saturation around well locations, as illustrated in this image.
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Initially designed as a simulator for subsurface flow and transport, PNNL's Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases computer code – or STOMP – now has expanded capabilities. The additional code – an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) module – was formally released at the 12th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies in Austin, Texas, at the end of October 2014. With this enhancnement, STOMP-EOR now gives the scientific community a numerical simulator that has full multi-fluid flow, heat transport, and geochemical capabilities. A new geomechanical module is next in line to join the STOMP simulator suite.

Over the last couple of years, emphasis in the investigation of the geologic sequestration of greenhouse gases has shifted from deep saline formation to EOR and sequestration of carbon in partially depleted oil and gas reservoirs. With support from the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, PNNL researchers designed the code to solve problems involving the transport of energy, water, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, salt, and a user-defined number of petroleum components through a variety of geologic media. Use of the code supports the CO2-EOR oil recovery process, which has the potential for storing significant volumes of CO2 emissions and increasing domestic oil production.

After the code’s October rollout, PNNL researchers led a short STOMP-EOR course at the University of Utah. External users of the simulator now include scientists and engineers at the University of Utah, University of Missouri, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (Korea), Masdar Institute (United Arab Emirates), Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (Italy), and ETH Zurich (Switzerland).

Work for the STOMP-EOR is crucial for PNNL's successful support to the Southwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SWP). The partnership’s research, currently in its final phase, aims to use EOR as key method of CO2 sequestration.

Other STOMP teamwork provides the RITE stuff

In other STOMP-related work, Signe White, a researcher in PNNL’s Environmental Systems group, travelled to the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) in Kyoto, Japan, in November 2014, to help install and train new users on PNNL’s STOMP-CO2 and GS3 software. The STOMP-CO2 subsurface simulator software enables modeling of experimental work to gain a better understanding of the subsurface environment and related processes to predict what subsurface carbon dioxide plumes will look like. The installation of the GS3 knowledge management system software provides a data management system to support STOMP-CO2 data collection, and serves as a collaborative tool for access to organized project data.

Signe said the key to the success of her visit was access to a "virtual help desk"—her team of specialists back home at PNNL. While speaking fluent STOMP-CO2 and GS3, she helped connect PNNL computer networking experts with the right people at RITE, so they could adjust software settings to accommodate system setup in Japan.

"Great and timely team work made it a positive experience," Signe affirmed. "The whole team was involved in the trip even though I was the only one physically on the ground in Japan." She applauded cell phone technology and the IT technical support staff who worked across time zones to resolve setup problems.

STOMP is a culmination of the work supported by PNNL's Carbon Sequestration Initiative. The completed is expected to transition to a DOE Office of Clean Fossil Energy supported project later this year.

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